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Negro League Team Apparently Used NOBs Way Back in 1942!

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Back in the summer, reader John Haynes sent me the 1942 newspaper clipping shown above, from The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. As you can see, it’s an article about an upcoming Negro Major League game featuring the Cincinnati Ethiopian Clowns. What caught John’s eye was the pitcher at far left, Peanuts Nyasses, whose surname is clearly visible on the back of his jersey:

This was 18 years before the White Sox pioneered the modern use of NOBs!

It’s not clear whether other members of the Clowns also wore NOBs, or if any other teams did so. Indeed, most currently available Negro Leagues photos don’t show a rear view, although the occasional rear-view shots don’t show NOBs, at least in my experience.

The funny thing about this is that “Nyasses” wasn’t even Peanuts Nyasses’s real surname. His actual moniker was Eddie Davis, although he sometimes went by Peanuts Davis or Peanuts Nyasses. He was known as the “Clown Prince of Negro Baseball.” His SABR biography offers some good uni-related details:

He wore his baseball cap sideways, and when he was pitching, his windup sometimes featured “flapping of the arms and jerking of the legs.” In addition, he was a member of a team called the Clowns, some of whom painted their faces in circus clown makeup. And then there were the vaudeville-style comedy routines he and his teammates often performed before, or even during, the game.

Here’s a look at Davis/Nyasses’s cap-askew style (more than half a century before it hit the big leagues):


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As for the Clowns’ clown makeup, you can see some players wearing it in that newspaper clipping at the top of this article. Here’s a closer look:

All very interesting. But it’s the early NOB that still intrigues me the most. Anyone know more about that?

Finally: I owe a big apology to John Haynes, the reader who sent me the newspaper clipping. As I mentioned at the top of this article, he sent me the clipping last summer, but it got buried on my “to do” list and then I forgot about it for a bit. Better late than never, John — thanks for the contribution, and for your patience!



Merch Reminder

In case you missed it a few weeks ago, our strapback cap is back in production after a long absence. You can order it here.

While we’re at it, I still have embroidered 25th-anniversary patches available:

Those are available here, plus the UW25 logo is also available on T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, and pint glasses.

Also, we’re getting down to the last few Uni Watch seam rippers. Details here.

My thanks, as always, for your consideration of our products.



Too Good for the Ticker

While researching something else, I came across this photo of a young Guy Lafleur. The youth uniform is nice, but what I really love is the patch on the official’s jacket pocket. Let’s take a closer look:

There’s something very funny, at least to me, about “Pee-Wee” being included with all those French words! And that annual tournament, incidentally, still exists today.



Mascot Watch

When they’re both in the cat cave, Uni Watch boy mascot Waffles is usually in the front, with girl mascot Biscuit sort of lurking in the back.



Can of the Day

A very nice design — simple and satisfying.

Comments (11)

    That is one heckuva find! So much missed and lost history from the Negro Leagues…

    The Pee-Wee hockey patch reminds me of one of George Carlin’s earliest albums where he talked about growing up in NYC, listening to Yankee games in Spanish and hearing the advertisements with the occasional English word dropped in like “Ven a nuestra tienda y mira hoy a Broadway.”

    Wow, very cool historical uni-find!
    I’m not particularly well versed in negro league history, that is pretty wild they also played as circus clowns and had particular aliases as clowns. Was it specific to this team or did multiple teams do this?
    Also love that his nickname was peanut. I love when players have nicknames that aren’t cool or intimidating in anyway, be it just a nickname from childhood that sticks or is something sarcastic they are given as adults. Certainly, more prevalent back then, but reminds me of Charles Peanut Tillman on the Bears.

    This is the kind of Uni Watch article that I love the best. Obscure, historical, lots of great analysis and contextual perspective. Thanks for a great story, Paul, and to John for bringing it to your (and our) attention.

    It would be nice to know who actually designed those uniforms with those billowing pant legs, contrasting panels and awesome caps… when will MLB get off their fatduffs and do a league-wide tribute to the men and leagues that they shunned for decades…
    Nike should just retire itself

    It would be so fun to see those photos colorized. I especially love the stripe pattern on the Clowns’ socks.

    Go ahead– I dare you to find a City Connect uniform that is as good as its corresponding Negro League uniform. If and when Indianapolis gets a major league team, those uniforms would be ideal; now to get them to go along with being called the Clowns.

    Great find and the Negro Leagues need an ackowledegement by MLB at least once every season. By wearing uniforms, just like Father;s Day, Mother;s Day 4th of July and all the other promotions. 162 games in a season, pick one or two, MLB! Sell merch with the proceeds to go to a noble cause.

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